Custom wood furniture offers you what mass produced name brand furniture cannot. Commissioning custom wood furniture is a lot like having a suit custom-tailored for you rather than buying off the rack at your local retailer. The one you buy off the shelf may work just fine and get the job done, but nothing can compare to the suit that fits every nook and cranny of your body just as it should. Commissioning your unique piece of custom wood furniture can be a daunting first-time process if you’ve never dealt with anything of this magnitude, so here are some things you should know about custom wood furniture.
It may not be as valuable as you think. Custom wood furniture does not necessarily mean it is more expensive than brand name furniture and, in some cases, it can be less expensive. Many things influence the price of a particular piece of custom wood furniture from a big fancy brand. Maybe a famous designer created it, and the custom wood furniture company has to pay authorities to said artist. Perhaps it is made out of a particularly rare species of wood. Sometimes there is no businesses and explanation get away with pricing custom wood furniture however they want. At UFM Designs we price our pieces of custom wood furniture as fairly as possible. We look at all of the elements that go into a few custom wood furniture such as type, size of wood, and technical difficulty.
We do not charge more because we are customizing something for someone. We do not cost more because they want a beveled top on their dining table instead of a straight top. Custom details are what we specialize in.
It may not take as long as you think. When you have custom wood furniture made, you need to have a bit of patience. There is no corresponding day delivery. However, we do not think that 6-8 weeks is too long to wait for a piece of custom wood furniture that is made to your exact specifications. Good things come to those who remain!
It is built especially for you. One of the more obvious reasons to have a piece of custom wood furniture is because you know that this custom wood furniture was made just for you. Everyone has different necessities in life. We have customers that have us build individual cabinets for their purse collections, a pride with a hidden refrigerator to keep their makeup right, a console with open ends and laser cut panels, so their cats have a comfortable and beautiful spot to sleep. You name it; we’ve done it!
Commissioning your special snowflake can be daunting for first-timers, so we talked to some dealers, artisans, and designers to demystify the process.
1. The price might be right. Custom wood furniture is not significantly more costly than ready-made pieces from a showroom or chain store, and can even be less expensive. “A large wood furniture manufacturer has a lot of hidden factors involved in its pricing structure,” said Jordan Mozer of Jordan Mozer Associates. “It has to pay an author a flat fee and often a portion of sales, and a factory to make the stock. Then there are shipping, taxes, advertising and overhead costs for the retail outlets, such as insurance, rent, and even air conditioning. All these charges are rolled into the final sticker price.”
2. Is time on your side? It takes a while to build and design custom wood furniture, so it’s crucial to place a time frame. “Once the project has been designed and defined, I tell my customers it will need eight weeks, take or give,” says Dan Sullivan of Chicago-based Navillus WoodWorks. “It’s not unusual to go through a few changes before finding exactly the right size, forms, and materials.” If you want something in an emergency, you have to be flexible. Mozer recently signed a deal to design the lighting and furnishings for clothing designer George Zaharoff’s 6,000-square-foot flagship boutique at 110 E. Oak St., set to open Oct. 25. “That strikes me about five weeks to finish the project,” Mozer states. “It will get done, but that plan rules out elements like cast metal, which includes patterns, hand-carved molds, setting and pouring, and polishing and machining.”
3. Size matters. An experienced artisan can make Goldilocks a bed that’s neither too thick nor too soft, but just right. “I created a dining room table with eight chairs for a couple who were dramatically changed in size,” states Lee Weitzman, partner of Lee Weitzman Furniture in River North. “The husband’s a big guy, and his wife is much shorter, so we made one of the chairs shorter with a smaller seat. All the ends are the same height, though, so no one can tell.”
4. Knock off the knockoffs. If you like something you have seen in a showroom, on an episode of “Real Housewives” or the pages of a shelter magazine, buy it and do not expect anyone to make a discount doppelgänger for you. “Designers concentrating in custom pieces already have a signature look and use of elements,” says Arrin Williams, proprietor of The Haymaker Shop, an Andersonville shop that concentrates on local independent artisans. “They do not want to be ripping off or using from other folks’ designs.”
5. Pictures? Perfect. That is not to say that you should not feel free to stockpile your smartphone with inspirational images and share them with a stylist. “Showing clippings is a great way of sharing visual experiences and abstract concepts,” Mr. Mozer says. “I perceive the world differently than everyone else and do not always have words to reveal it; customers are the same way at times.”
6. Go green. Custom furniture gives you a way to control what your piece is made of. Rocky Levy of Chicago-based Icon Modern solely uses recycled and sustainable materials in his custom wood furniture, and says reclaimed urban wood is “the only plan to go.” His business upcycles trees that have been torn down to give way for new construction, felled in storms, or axed because of age or disease, slicing and dicing them into beautiful conference tables, countertops, and stools.
7. Invested interests. Custom wood furniture can improve the portfolio as well as the pad. Wright, the Chicago-based auction house, recently put a compilation of early-1990s Mozer-designed furniture from a Glencoe residence on the block, and almost everything dramatically surpassed its high valuation. A sofa valued at $3,000-$5,000 contracted for $25,000. “It was exciting for us,” Mr. Mozer says, “and I am sure our customers were pleased that they had a chance to enjoy it for 15 years and then make that kind of profit.”
8. Singular Sensation. Perhaps the most apparent reason for having a bespoke headboard or a one-off ottoman is that it is going to be made just for you. “You will have something that no one else does,” Mr. Williams says.
9. Local rights. “There are deep issues at hand when you buy locally made furniture,” says Mr. Mozer. “You are supporting America, and the people that live and work nearby you.”
10. Payment plan. “Paying in steps provides for a customer to maintain control over the commission,” says Mr. Mozer. Suppose to put down a small deposit after the initial meeting, with the balance doled out over two or three extra stages, typically after approving designs and then upon final analysis.
If you want your very own creation of custom furniture, don’t hesitate to contact us. We at UFM Designs, know that you want the very best custom furniture and we are here to provide exactly that.